I started this piece several days ago. Words ready to flow; at least I thought. Putting my thoughts down, giving them the life they live in my head and my heart has always been nearly impossible. It takes me time. I am working to trust, rather than doubt my words. Boy is that hard, as I sit here finishing a piece I started days ago. The first piece in a week, or more.
I have re-read this piece several times: Does that make sense? Is this expressing what’s happening in my head, my heart? My thinking…is it even clear? Do I want to share all these thoughts? Each time I read this over, I found myself at the end. There is something that changed in me at the end.
Let’s rewind to a few days ago:
I find myself thinking often: things will get easier-he will get used to it-we will get used to it. I know this is true. The needles-the medicine-the side effects-the doctor visits-the life we have now, we will get used to it. Things will get easier.
But then my heart tells me something different.
There is nothing easy about cancer. Nothing easy about seeing the person you love, your forever go through this.
I don’t want us to get used to it. I don’t want this routine. I don’t want this to be a part of our life. I don’t want this to be our normal, even for the shortest of time. My fear, getting used to it may appear as being strong and that terrifies me. I’m such an emotional person to begin with, being strong is exhausting. I can’t lock myself in a room to let all my worries-my pain out so that my family doesn’t see me breakdown. I’ve had these moments already, and it’s taken a toll on me.
As much as I don’t want us to go through this, I also don’t want to show my children or my husband that this is no big deal. I want to be positive. I want to be free of worry. I want my days to be peaceful. I want all these things and more for my family. But at what cost?
The verse in a Lumineers’ song comes to mind: It’s better to feel pain, than nothing at all.
For me, I want my husband, my children to see and feel whatever is happening. I want them to be comfortable with letting everything out. I want to show them that this is a difficult time. There will be moments of breakdowns-fights-nurses-needles-sickness-fatigue. Even some moments we have not yet experienced. There is pain in the depths of our hearts.
With all of this pain, comes something greater.
Questions. Like, “why is Daddy sleeping all day?-why are you guys fighting so much?-why does Daddy have to carry that bag again?-why are you guys crying?-why are people cooking dinner for us?” Questions that will lead to conversations. Important conversations. Conversations that will lead to an understanding. To empathy.
Comfort. When Daddy had his last breakdown, we had a big family hug. No words, just embracing each other. Knowing that sometimes people just need connection. The awareness that something releases in our body with a simple hug.
Fellowship. Life is hard, but we don’t have to do it alone. Witnessing the beauty of the human spirit. Pure. Selfless. Kind. A gift to my boys. In a world where I fear they will coexist with hatred-fear-anger-isolation-selfishness, I can take a deep breath. What family and friends – our people- have done for us, is more then they realize. I haven’t been able to articulate the level of gratitude I have yet. Yet.
Healing. Healing beyond just the cancer. Healing the damage even prior to this diagnosis. It sucks -yeah that’s the nice word I’ll use- that something like this causes us to change our lives for the better. We have made mistakes as parents, as siblings, as friends, as members of society -we have learned from them- we are healing together.
So, I’m not sure if being strong is best for me or my family. There is so much we can gain from the pain. I have to show how I’m living through this, so my family sees something greater. That is best for us.